Monday, December 3, 2007

Lay off Patrick Marleau

San Jose Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau has been taking a lot of flak for his play this year, and it's true, it all you looked at were his most basic stats, it doesn't seem like he's having a good year:

2005-2006 SAN 82 34 52 86 260 13.1 14 28 20 24
2006-2007 SAN 77 32 46 78 180 17.8 18 23 14 23
2007-2008 SAN 24 4 7 11 46 8.7 4 3 0 4

But we can't honestly believe Marleau will continue to score on just 8.7% of his shots, half of his career level, can we? When questioned by the San Jose Mercury News, Marleau doesn't believe it:

"The puck just isn't going into the net," Marleau said. "It's just one of those things that comes and goes. But it's not going to stay this way..."

One thing Marleau does exceedingly well is draw penalties. He was the best in the league (per 60 minutes) last season, and he's the best this season. And it's not even close. He draws penalties with speed and great moves - and that hasn't changed. There is no reason to think Marleau won't rack up a ton of points both at even-strength and on the power-play going forward.

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One thing Marleau does exceedingly well is draw penalties. He was the best in the league (per 60 minutes) last season, and he's the best this season. And it's not even close.

I understand that in previous years you're using the proxy of measuring based on who was on the ice when penalties were taken (as opposed to this year where that's being recorded in the PBP files), but I show Marleau with 9 penalties drawn so far this year, as opposed to guys like Ovechkin and Crosby who are well into the 20's.

Do you have Penalties Drawn/Committed numbers posted for this year yet? I'd be interested to compare in case I'm missing something on my end.
I'll run the individual numbers in a little while, but I looked at individual penalties drawn from 2001-06, and I wasn't convinced that the scorers were doing a very good job of recording who drew the penalty. Plus some rinks didn't have data at all.

I also feel like penalties drawn while a player's on the ice can be a better measure of a player's value. A breakaway guy/scorer like Ovechkin will be high up in individual stats, but we shouldn't discount penalties that one player draws because another player created an opening and fed the first guy the puck.
Through Sunday's games, I have the following for non-coincidental penalties drawn:

Crosby, 26
Ovechkin, 24
Kesler, 20
Nash, 19
Phaneuf, 19
Staal, 18
Zetterberg, 18
Marleau, 9
Opponent Penalties while a player is on the ice (ES only):

Crosby, 54
Marleau, 53
Ovechkin, 51
Staal, 46
Zetterberg, 45
Phaneuf, 42
Kesler, 38
Nash, 37
Iginla, 37
Thornton, 37
Rivet, 37

This clearly requires further study - Marleau is consistently on the ice when opponents take penalties...and yet he doesn't get credited with drawing them...
I'm not close to the Sharks to know who Marleau's playing with, but I show Thornton and Michalek drawing quite a few.
Individual penalties drawn

Thornton 17
Marleau 9
Michalek 8
Greer 7
Cheechoo 7
Rissmiller 6
Bernier 6
Clowe, Mitchell, Pavelski, McLaren 5
Vlasic, Roenick, Carle, Murray 3
Setoguchi, Goc, Ehrhoff 2
Rivet, Patzold, Ozolinsh, Nabokov, Davison 1

5-on-5 penalties drawn per 60 mins:


Marleau leads the league, and led the league last year. There's a disconnect here...
I added penalties drawn/taken to the stats database (which is now completely unruly!)
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